Psychotherapy with a Social Justice Orientation


Body Diversity Therapy

As Sonya Renee Taylor puts it: The body is not an apology. Our bodies, our exteriors that are visible to the world, are as beautifully diverse as we are as people within. Our society has historically shifted standards on what is "attractive" or what is "healthy". In the midst of this chaos, we are expected to find peace and fulfillment within ourselves and yet keep up by constantly changing. In a society and system that profits from making us feel "less than" in every way, our biggest rebellion is to be ourselves fully and without apology. In today's world that shames bodies for not fitting to a very rigid standard, radical self love through full acceptance of one's body is a vital necessity.  

I work with individuals who fight and are affected by this oppressive system on a daily basis: whether it is through living with eating disorders, experiencing weight stigma, or fighting to be seen and appreciated as they are right now. Each one of us has a genetic inheritance that makes our bodies so richly diverse and different. I work with clients towards reaching a place of self-acceptance, self-celebration, and self-pride. Health and healthy living mean different things to different people: hence body diversity therapy is also as richly unique to each of my clients. 

As a clinician, I emphasize some important truths in my work:

  • We are all of unique sizes, shapes, weights and appearances - and rightfully so. Difference is vital and beautiful.
  • Eating disorders affect all kinds of bodies and it is difficult to tell simply by looking at someone if they have an eating disorder.
  • Each person's "ideal body weight" is different - it is the weight at which one feels strong, energetic, fulfilled and able to live a healthy regular life.
  • Society and consumerist capitalism are dangerous in that they create artificial standards/ideals that we feel compelled to compare ourselves to.
  • Diet culture sucks and is dangerous.
  • Individuals do not need to compare themselves to any one, or live by anyone's standards but their own.
  •  Women, men and genderqueer individuals all experience and live with feelings of body shame/ body inadequacy as well as eating disorders.
  • Medical and other providers many times do more harm than good in pushing a rigid model of "health" and wellness on individuals.
  • It is critical to work with providers who understand, personally and compassionately, what it is like to live with an ED or with body image issues.

In my work, I follow closely the principles of Health At Every Size (HAES), which are: 

  1. Weight Inclusivity: Accept and respect the inherent diversity of body shapes and sizes and reject the idealizing or pathologizing of specific weights.
  2. Health Enhancement: Support health policies that improve and equalize access to information and services, and personal practices that improve human well-being, including attention to individual physical, economic, social, spiritual, emotional, and other needs.
  3. Respectful Care: Acknowledge our biases, and work to end weight discrimination, weight stigma, and weight bias. Provide information and services from an understanding that socio-economic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and other identities impact weight stigma, and support environments that address these inequities.
  4. Eating for Well-being: Promote flexible, individualized eating based on hunger, satiety, nutritional needs, and pleasure, rather than any externally regulated eating plan focused on weight control.
  5. Life-Enhancing Movement: Support physical activities that allow people of all sizes, abilities, and interests to engage in enjoyable movement, to the degree that they choose.

Here are some principles that I urge my clients to adopt in their lives:

  1. Accept your size. Love and appreciate the body you have. Self-acceptance empowers you to move on and make positive changes.
  2. Trust yourself. We all have internal systems designed to keep us healthy — and at a healthy weight. Support your body in naturally finding its appropriate weight by honoring its signals of hunger, fullness, and appetite.
  3. Adopt healthy lifestyle habits. Develop and nurture connections with others and look for purpose and meaning in your life. Fulfilling your social, emotional, and spiritual needs restores food to its rightful place as a source of nourishment and pleasure.
  4. Find the joy in moving your body and becoming more physically vital in your everyday life.
  5. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, and seek out pleasur­able and satisfying foods.
  6. Tailor your tastes so that you enjoy more nutritious foods, staying mindful that there is plenty of room for less nutritious choices in the context of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle.
  7. Embrace size diversity. Humans come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Open to the beauty found across the spectrum and support others in recognizing their unique attractiveness.

If you feel like you would like to work with me on this important journey of healing and celebrating yourself through radical self love, I look forward to meeting you!